Thursday, July 14, 2005

Arguing with Dennis Prager is not a good idea

Dennis Prager is certainly one of the most wise of Americans. While most radio talk show hosts entertain their listeners with rants about the hot topic of the day, Mr. Prager guides his listeners through thoughtful discussions guided by his motto "I prefer clarity to agreement". In striving for clarity he allows long phone calls from those who disagree with him, and during those conversations he guides the caller logically down a path leading to the destruction of their argument.

Recently Dennis made the point that you can't "support the troops" and be against the war. He pointed out that though "I support the troops" is the cliche of the day, it is only true when you actually support them in what they are doing. Seems pretty straight forward.

Bruce Ramsey writes in the Seatle Times that Mr. Prager is being "disingenuous" by defining the term "support" in such a way.

The following is a copy of the e-mail I sent to the Seatle Times................

Mr. Ramsey sure uses the word "disingenuous" alot. It
seems everyone is disingenuous except him.

Yet he is the one who needs to re-define a term in
able to win an argument. In fact he admits that by
Mr. Prager's definition of "supporting the troops" Mr.
Prager wins the argument. So Ramsey redefines what
"support" means.

Mr. Ramsey claims supporting the troops does not in
fact mean supporting what they are doing, but instead
means attempting to stop them from doing it (bye
bringing them home before they complete the job).
Since he and Prager use baseball as an example, so
will I. Ramsey's game would go like this..........I
support the Padres (our local team), but don't think
they should pound the daylights out of the poor
Mariner's pitchers, so the coach should forfeit the
game and sit on the bench until some pitchers who
deserve to have home runs hit off them come to Petco
Park to play.

It's really quite silly isn't it.

That however is not the biggest mistake Mr. Ramsey
makes. He says we supporters of the war don't have
the guts to say "support the war!". Where has he been
for the past three years? That's exactly what we have
been saying. It's what Bush said when he campaigned,
and WON the election in 2004.

And Mr. Ramsey, I'm sorry I had to hit your pitch out
of the park, but really, you deserved it, and I don't
care whose ballpark you are in.

Geoff Milke http:/


At 9:58 AM, Blogger christie said...

Not personally frequenting conservative talk radio, I don't have any basis for discussing anything about Dennis Prager. However, on the subject of supporting the troops vs. supporting the war, I disagree with you entirely. I don't have to resort to metaphors to do so.

I disagree with George Bush on many things, based on my limited knowledge. I know my knowledge is limited. I know that the troops see something that I do not. They also see many things that the President does not. I trust the troops in the things they see. However, even among them there is a lack of agreement about the value of the war and the honesty of officials running it. It is naive to think every soldier feels the same way about the war. Yet, I am able to support each of them by identifying with the word support in the fourth way that defines it, "4. To keep from weakening or failing; strengthen: The letter supported him in his grief."

I will never fault any person in service for doing his or her duty nor for believing (or not) in this duty. I love the courage and loyalty that these troops provide and I would and do trust each and every one of them with my life. I don't know that I feel the same about the choices made from the heads of state. Yet, I support the war in a completely different way, as definition 5 from outlines, "5. To provide for or maintain, by supplying with money or necessities."

I still feel the war's timing has been justified from some shaky reasoning. I feel it a war that eventually needed to happen, but it was timed inappropriately and piggybacked on seemingly unrelatd issues. I have been told that I don't know the whole picture, but that is the exact point. I want to know before I can feel justified in agreeing with a war. This is the type of support that I want more of from the Commander in Chief, "6. To furnish corroborating evidence for..."

But regardless of the reasons for a war, the reasoning of gov. officials is something that no member of the military at the fighting level has power over and, whether s/he believes in his/her duty or not, s/he will fight as commanded. This deserves a huge amount of respect and honor. It is not because of this war that I support the troops, it is because of who each person is and his/her character that each deserves our support (e.g. encouragement, trust, respect, honor, dignified treatment, etc.)

At 12:13 PM, Blogger christie said...

Having read the letter from July 18, 2005 "The Reason for the Iraq War", was a great follow-up for my own learning(found on Bruce Ramsey's Blog). It gave some really good reasoning and illustration to learn about the rationale for the war. Also (in contrast) illustrating my earlier point, are the opposing views from two troops in reaction to Ramsey's piece.

By the way, thank you for keeping this blog. It is a great opportunity to challenge my own views and your well-referenced blog allows me to read across the political divide. Thank you.

At 1:41 PM, Blogger senorlechero said...


Thanks for your comments. I really don't think we are in disagreement. I accept the definitions you put forth. When I say "support the war" I don't mean beleive in every aspect of it.

To me "support the war" means trying to win, and giving the warriors what they need to win.


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